Abbreviations

Academic Degrees

Spell out and use the lower case: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctor’s degree or doctorate.

You can receive a doctorate OR your doctor’s degree, but NOT your doctoral degree.

If you prefer to abbreviate degrees, be sure to use periods after all the letters: B.A., M.S., Ph.D., M.S.I.A., B.F.A. (with the exception of MBA).

Right:

He received a master’s degree in engineering.

Right:

She received her master of science degree in engineering.

Right:

We awarded 99 doctor’s, 150 master’s and 900 bachelor’s degrees.

Right:

He earned a bachelor of architecture degree.

Wrong:

He earned a bachelor’s of architecture degree.

Right:

She has an M.S. degree in technical writing.

Do not precede a name with a title of an academic degree and follow it with the abbreviation for that degree.

Right:

Larry R. Faulkner, Ph.D., was president of The University of Texas at Austin from 1998-2006.

Right:

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner was president of The University of Texas at Austin from 1998-2006.

Wrong:

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, Ph.D., was president of The University of Texas at Austin from 1998-2006.

Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name of a person who holds a doctor’s degree. Do not use Dr. in the second reference, unless the person holds a doctor of medicine degree.

Do not use Dr. before the names of those who hold honorary degrees only. References to honorary degrees must specify the degree was honorary.

The last name may be used with no titles at all, which is often preferable to maintain consistency.

Acronyms

Generally, it’s fine to use acronyms if you feel they’re commonly recognized or if it helps avoid repetition. But always spell out the full name, title or phrase the first time you refer to it in text, followed immediately by the acronym in parentheses. Then use the acronym for each and every subsequent use. It is not necessary to note the acronym in parentheses if there is only one reference.

Right:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the grant to the research group. The NIH funded only three such centers in the nation.

Wrong:

The five-year research project is funded by the National Institute on Aging of the NIH.

Right:

Researchers received a $4.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate the outcomes of computerized and individual language therapies with school-age children throughout the United States. With this NIH-funded project, researchers will test the theory that language impairments and learning disabilities are caused by inadequate brain mechanisms for processing speech sounds.

Addresses

These rules apply to addresses within body copy, not to addresses on envelopes.

Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd., Rd., Dr. and St. only when you can include a numbered address.

Right:

Send mail to 405 W. 25th St.

Right:

Our office is on 25th Street.

Spell out all street names and use lower case when you’re referring to more than one in a phrase.

Right:

The parking lot is on San Antonio and Nueces streets.

Wrong:

The parking lot is on San Antonio and Nueces Sts.

Company Names

Follow their lead. Use Co. or Cos. or Inc. or Ltd. if it appears that way in the formal title of the organization.

When you refer to a company without its formal title, use the term “company,” not “co.”

Always spell out the word “company” in theatrical organizations.

For possessives: Ford Motor Co.’s profits.

Never use a comma before Inc. or Ltd. (Follow the company’s lead about other punctuation and the use of “&” or “and.”)

Contractions

In most non-academic writing, contractions make your text easier to read, conveying a more conversational tone. Unless a more formalized construction helps emphasize the meaning of a sentence or phrase, use contractions and use them consistently.

You’ll notice we’ve used contractions consistently in this publication, except for points of emphasis, as in “do not” instead of “don’t.”

Ph.D.

The preferred form for Ph.D. is to say a person holds a doctorate in (name their field of specialty). Second best is to say doctor’s degree.

Postal Abbreviations

Do not use postal abbreviations in your text. See States and Regions for preferred abbreviations of states.

Right:

He’s from New Orleans, La.

Wrong:

He’s from New Orleans, LA.

Rev.

When used before an individual’s name, precede it with “the.”

Right:

The Rev. Miller will speak at the assembly.

Right:

The Reverend Miller will speak.

Wrong:

Rev. Miller will be there.

Wrong:

The Rev. will be there.

States and Regions

Spell out the names of the 50 United States when they stand alone in text.

Right: Most students come from Texas.
Wrong: We have 50 students from Fla.

Abbreviate, using AP, not postal rules, when citing a city and a state together. Some states must always be spelled out.

Ala.

Ga.

Maine

Neb.

Ohio

Texas

Alaska

Hawaii

Md.

Nev.

Okla.

Utah

Ariz.

Idaho

Mass.

N.H.

Ore.

Vt.

Ark.

Ill.

Mich.

N.J.

Pa.

Va.

Calif.

Ind.

Minn.

N.M.

R.I.

Wash.

Colo.

Iowa

Miss.

N.Y.

S.C.

W.Va.

Conn.

Kan.

Mo.

N.C.

S.D.

Wis.

Del.

Ky.

Mont.

N.D.

Tenn.

Wyo.

Fla.

La.

 

 

 

 

Use Washington, D.C. Don’t abbreviate to D.C. or, worse, DC.

Right:

The University of Texas at Austin is in Austin, Texas.

Wrong:

The University of Texas at Austin is in Austin, TX.

Always spell out a state name if it’s part of a title or name: The Texas Education Agency.

U.S./United States

We suggest using “United States” on first reference, rather than “U.S.,” “USA” or “America,” and be consistent with usage for the second reference and thereafter. The key is to choose one option and use
it consistently. It can be confusing to jump from one to another.

The University of Texas at Austin

Do not use the abbreviation “UT.” The idea is to proclaim the university’s name, not obscure it.
Some of your readers may use the term “UT” themselves, but why minimize the recognition impact of the name The University of Texas at Austin?

The correct reference is to use “The University of Texas at Austin” the first time you refer to the title of the university in text. Upon second reference and thereafter, use “university.” When writing for internal audiences familiar with the university, it is acceptable to refer to the university as UT Austin.

 

Right:

The University of Texas at Austin is in Austin, Texas. The university was started in 1883.

Use lower case when using “the university” as a reference. The Associated Press style guide suggests using lower case when making a second reference to “the university.”